Oliva first started in animation as a cleanup artist for an animated Fox TV series Spider-Man in 1996 where he eventually started his career as a storyboard artist. He then moved to Sony Animation in 1997 and storyboarded on Extreme Ghostbusters. He would stay at Sony for the next five years where he worked on Godzilla: The Series and then eventually becoming a director on the animated TV series Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles which was then followed by Heavy Gear and Max Steel. Before leaving Sony, he storyboarded on Jackie Chan Adventures. He went on to work as storyboard supervisor on the Mike Young Productions/Mattel series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and the follow up Masters of the Universe vs. the Snake Men. He was then hired as a storyboard artist for the first season of the hit series The Batman, after which then moved back to Sony Animation to direct the last season of Jackie Chan Adventures.
While at Sony, he worked as storyboard artist on Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild in 2005. After working on a few DC animated TV series including Teen Titans and Justice League, he then moved to the Marvel/Lionsgate studios where he directed The Invincible Iron Man and Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme. After which, he was then hired by The Walt Disney Company to storyboard on the critically acclaimed children's series My Friends Tigger and Pooh. During this period he also worked as a storyboard artist on Superman: Doomsday before moving one last time back to Marvel to direct Marvel Animation's Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow.
He worked as a storyboard artist on Marvel's Hulk Vs and DC's Wonder Woman, both of which were deemed successful. After working on six other DC Comics projects such as Green Lantern: First Flight, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and All-Star Superman, he was asked to once again direct an animated film but this time for WB/DC, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights which received many positive reviews. He also went on to direct many episodes of the hit Young Justice TV series. He also worked on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
In late 2012, he was assigned by Warner Bros. Animation to make a two-part animated film on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns which was based on the comic book series of the same name by Frank Miller. Part 1 received a 100% score by Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2013, he, along with Zack Snyder, storyboarded his first live-action feature film, Man of Steel, after which he was tasked to make Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, based on the comic crossover, Flashpoint which received generally positive reviews. He was then tasked to helm the next animated movie from The New 52 series, Justice League: War which would release in 2014.
Son of Batman director Ethan Spaulding replaced Oliva and director for the sequel Justice League: Throne of Atlantis based on the third Aquaman story by Geoff Johns. Oliva then directed the film Batman vs. Robin before working on Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Oliva returned to directing for Warner Bros. Animation with Batman: Bad Blood.
His first live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe film he storyboarded on was Ant-Man in 2015 as well as the Tim Miller film Deadpool in 2016.
He worked as a storyboard artist on multiple episodes of The Flash.
In 2016, he directed another WB/DC movie in Justice League Dark, a movie which was given an R rating and would be released digitally on January 24, 2017.
He is currently splitting his time directing for WB/DC animated films and storyboarding live-action films and commercials. On August 29, 2017, however, Oliva confirmed that he no longer works for Warner Bros.
Oliva studied at Servite High School before graduating and going to Loyola Marymount University.